On September 27, 2018, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified about an alleged sexual assault by now-confirmed Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. I watched both testimonies. As a young woman, it showed me that women will be silenced and held to a different standard while a man can act with blatant disrespect and still be appointed to the highest court in the land.
Kavanaugh was a controversial nomination from the start, mostly because of his stance on Roe v. Wade, which was a landmark Supreme Court case that led to legalized abortion. As the process to confirm him went on his behavior under oath caused concern. People protested his credibility during his initial hearing, and when the sexual assault allegations against him surfaced, it added to his controversy.
The allegations against Kavanaugh from Dr. Ford opened up deep wounds for many across the country. Using social media, people began sharing their stories of assault from different points in their life. Across the country, people were demanding for Dr. Ford’s voice to be heard. After people demanded that Dr. Ford’s voice be heard, she was granted a chance to testify in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Dr. Ford’s testimony was an act of courage. “I am here today not because I want to be. I am terrified. I am here because I believe it is my civic duty to tell you what happened to me while Brett Kavanaugh and I were in high school,” Dr. Ford said in her testimony.
Throughout her testimony, she detailed the assault she claims Kavanaugh committed in high school. she answered the questions to the best of her ability, and although at times you could tell it was almost like she was reliving the event, she remained composed.
There were pieces of her testimony that seemed so familiar to me, and as well as many other women. When Dr. Ford recalled the laughter from Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge. I have sat in classes where that same type of laughter has happened. Although I have never experienced anything like Dr. Ford, the laughter she described I know, and it is the kind of laughter that sticks with you and it is a kind of laughter that can cause anxiety and discomfort.
While watching Dr. Ford’s I felt frustrated and sad. I felt sad because it was clear that she was reliving her experience as she talked and I felt sad because what she described has happened to so many other women. I was and still am frustrated because people did not believe her, the President of the United States made fun of her, some senators at times felt that she wasn’t doing “enough,” and the man she accused of assaulting her is now sitting on the Supreme Court.
Kavanaugh’s testimony was a stark contrast to Ford’s. Kavanaugh entered the room ready to fight. He yelled much of his testimony, cried, and had a tense exchange with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar regarding his drinking behaviour. He asked the senator if she had ever been blackout drunk, disregarding the fact that Senator Klobuchar has spoken about her father being an alcoholic.
After all the testimonies, I really thought about the behavior displayed on both sides. I thought about how each time Dr. Ford would apologize because she couldn’t remember details, or would ask if what she said was enough. Like many women, I have apologized for not knowing things or when I thought I was asking for too much, but to watch a woman while testifying feel that she had to apologize because she couldn’t remember details of a sexual assault got to me. Ford’s numerous apologies displayed the double standard that was present in the hearing.
When Kavanaugh was testifying he rarely apologized. He spent majority of his time lashing out about the accusations, and at one point South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham started yelling. If two women were to behave the same way, the media would have labeled them as “unstable” or “ill-behaved,” and President Trump would have tweeted about the behavior. But instead, Kavanaugh’s behavior was seen by some as justified because he was undoubtedly defending himself. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham showed his feelings during the hearing as well as afterwards. “This is the most unethical sham since I’ve been in politics,” Graham said.
I have encountered young men like Kavanaugh. They behave in a disrespectful way towards authority, talk back when they are in trouble, and disrespect women. I do not want them holding such a high position of power. They are the same men who ask why it took years for an allegation like Dr. Ford’s to come out, yet it’s their repeated behavior that silences survivors. With the confirmation of Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, it shows them that they can behave in a poor manner and still be powerful.
Ultimately, this event has shown me that the current government does not care about women. According to the Senate’s decision, high school actions do not matter if you are a man. This hearing and Supreme Court confirmation has proved that we are nowhere near equality, and have so much further to go.